Can we build it? 6 families work together to construct own homes; open house scheduled

The home of Jared Jones and his family nears completion. The Joneses were one of six families working together as part of the "Mutual Self-Help Housing" program, photo date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Self-Help Homes, St. George News

TOQUERVILLE — After 10 months of very hard labor, six families will come together to celebrate the completion of their new homes at an open house Monday in Toquerville from 3-5:30 p.m.

As part of the “Mutual Self-Help Housing” program, the families have been building their own homes together, providing 65 percent or more of the labor needed to construct the houses. Each family works on the others’ houses for at least 35 hours every week, and no one can move in until every home is finished.

Home of the Jones family during construction, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Self-Help Homes, St. George News

The program – and a lot of sweat equity – allows families to achieve their dream of home ownership.

“Without this program, we would never have been able to be in a home like this,” CrossFit instructor Jared Jones said.

Jones and his family are the proud owners of a new home in LaVerkin.

The group of six families worked together as a team to build each other’s houses: four in Toquerville and two in LaVerkin. During the process, the families have learned how to frame, roof, paint, install plumbing and cabinetry and more. But more than that, the group has also built lifelong bonds.

“We have enjoyed getting to know each family,” new homeowner Danielle Clyde said. “We each come from very different backgrounds and each have different stories to tell but in the end, we all have one common goal, and that is to work together as a team to help each other achieve our dream of building and owning a home.”

Adults in the group range from 25 to 40 years old, and between the six families there are 22 children who now have new homes to live in. Members of the group come from diverse backgrounds and work a variety of occupations, including a resort manager, a registered nurse who works with hospice patients and a teacher.

Clyde family breaks ground on their new home, photo date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Self-Help Homes, St. George News

“We have learned so much through this process, and many of the skills that we have been taught are things that will benefit us greatly in the future,” Clyde said. “We are so grateful for a program like this that makes it possible for families like ours to be able to have a home we can call our own and to be able to say that we did 65 percent of the work makes it that much more special.”

The families’ new homes have three bedrooms and two bathrooms with approximately 1,500 square feet of finished living space. In addition, each home has a full, unfinished basement or a second-floor bonus room.

As of the end of July, 7,984 total hours had been logged in the construction of the six houses. Only 724 of those hours were from outside volunteers; the rest came from the families themselves.

“It has not been easy, and there have been many difficult and trying times but we all know that this is temporary,” Clyde said. “We realize what the result will be and for us that is enough motivation to keep up the hard work. “

The public is invited to join in the celebration, tour the homes and find out more about the program and how to apply or volunteer.

The Mutual Self-Help Housing program is run by Self-Help Homes, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization based in Provo. The organization has facilitated more than 400 homes throughout Utah through its Mutual Self-Help Housing program.

Self-Help Homes is seeking qualified applicants for upcoming projects in Southern Utah. For more information, call 801-375-2205 ext. 111 and ask for Halie. Or go to the Self-Help Homes website.

Event details

  • What: Open house celebrating the completion of six homes built through the “Mutual Self-Help Housing” program.
  • When: Monday, Aug. 14, from 3-5:30 p.m.
  • Where: 746 S. Peachtree Drive, Toquerville.
    • From Interstate 15, take Exit 27 onto state Route 17 and drive toward Toquerville. Once in the town of Toquerville, turn right onto S. Westfield Road, then left onto W. Peachtree Drive. Follow this road as it makes a right turn and becomes S. Peachtree Dr.
  • This event is free and open to the public.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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